Avoid These 5 Key Things at All Costs Prior to ANY Media Interview

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You did it. Congratulations! You landed that top-tier media interview with a national magazine or with a huge online journalist, or other media person. What should you be doing as the time draws near? And, more importantly, what should you avoid doing? Here are my top five recommendations of things to avoid:

  1. Eating  Use the same rule your mother gave you about not swimming for an hour after you eat. If you’re going to be doing any kind of interview where there is a microphone in your face (or over the phone) then refrain from eating for one hour. This is to prevent lip smacks–those annoying sounds that come from your mouth after you’ve been chewing and swallowing. You might not be aware of these distracting noises, but the listener will hear them and it won’t be positive. Avoid all dairy in particular, as it has a tendency to cause mucus to form and you really don’t want to be clearing your throat throughout the interview.
  1. Napping or Sleeping. This is pretty obvious, but worth saying. Your energy level for an interview should be high, so if you’re doing a very early morning interview, be sure you’re up and wide awake at show time. Then, once you’re doing the interview, you want to feel as if your energy is almost over the top. One good barometer is to match the energy of your host. I just saw an interview a couple of days ago during which the host came across up, and friendly, and very knowledgeable about her guest’s books and credentials, while the author — not so much. You don’t want to come across as the person who is too laid back and isn’t interested in his or her own message.
  1. Going into the interview cold. When you get ready to exercise physically, you warm up. When you sing, you condition your voice and warm it up. The time to warm up for an interview is before it actually starts. You want to be at your best starting with the very first word that comes out of your mouth. You don’t want half your precious interview time being spent warming up. You must be up, and energetic right out of the gate. To do this, begin warming up your voice about thirty minutes prior to the interview time. Singing is  great way to do this. Drink warm liquids as this soothes the vocal chords. Do some jumping jacks or running in place a couple of minutes before show time to get your energy up and moving. Then you’ll be ready to nail that interview.
  1. Avoid any kind of arguments or emotionally-charged situations prior to your interview. One could take the stance here that being emotionally charged might actually enhance the interview performance, but in reality it usually causes the person to be distracted. When you’ve had an argument with someone, it often gets relived over and over again in one’s mind. “What should I do now? I can’t believe he (or she) said that? Why didn’t I say this instead?” An interview is your time to shine. Don’t blow it by being distracted by something else that could have been avoided.
  1. Not being clear on your top key messages. Critical beyond critical. You must know your key messages inside and out and know their priority of importance. How else are you doing to bridge back to your messages when a host tries to take you down a path you really don’t want to go down. Don’t be like so many interviewees who trust that the host will ask exactly the right questions. You must go in knowing what you want and how you’re going to get there.

When it comes to delivering great interviews, remember to avoid these key items and do the recommended suggestions instead. For more on media training and on how you can secure national media attention, contact me at joanne@joannemccall.com. To take an assessment of how media savvy you are at this moment, click here.

To your success!


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